Sunday, October 30, 2005

New Yorker Editor "Agrees" with Essential Emmes

Not only do I like when my ideas are met with agreement, but what’s more flattering is when the agreement comes from an intelligent and accomplished mind, not knowingly or on purpose, of course, but still satisfying, nonetheless.

The use of similar verbiage further emphasizes how obvious is the fearful mentality of the Bush camp:

David Remnick, in Comment (p. 37), reports on President Bush's "Hell Week,"…

Remnick writes, "Bush had been unmasked in all his insularity, arrogance, and executive incompetence.... But the lessons that Bush is likely to derive from the complex of recent disasters will not automatically lead to a more considered, modest, and moderate Presidency."…

"in his anger, and after all his many failures, the President, quite suddenly, seems unpopular, alone, and adrift."[emphasis added]—Huffington Post 10/30/05

I wrote here, Thursday, October 27,

…what kind of mistake was [the nomination of Harriet Miers for Supreme Court Justice]? One of stupidity, haste, studied miscalculation? Or in the more sinister vein of the mindset of Bush, Rove and company, was it the arrogance and willful isolation of a dynasty in charge without regard to consequence? If Bush could get an inside crony like Miers onto the Supreme Court, what heights could he not scale?—[emphasis added]

My major concern remains—that Bush, in his anger and solitude, will lead this nation in an inappropriate and possibly dangerous direction. Two days after the indictment of a powerful and influential member of the White House machine, neither the CEO (Bush), nor the executive in charge (Cheney) have made a statement to the shareholders (we the people) about the accusations of immense wrongdoing and all of its ramifications at that level of government. In the awkward analogy of the Bush administration as a business, this silence on the part of the leadership should not be tolerated by the rank and file.

Evidently arrogance and insularity are in place to mark the pace of the continuation of this presidency until impeachment hearings are held.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Best One-Liner of the Week:

In the midst of national economic turmoil due to natural catastrophes produced by the worst swarm of hurricanes in history, Exxon-Mobil posts a ten BILLION dollar profit for the quarter, the biggest single-quarter profit of any company in history, from selling short supplies of fuel at inflated prices, so conservative republican Senator Bill Frist calls for congressional hearings to investigate price gouging in the oil industry.

Get it? Not Barbara Boxer -- Bill Frist.

I'd like to go for a drive, get some air, and think about it, but I can't afford the gas.

Thursday Morning Quarterbacking

The breaking news hadn’t finished breaking this morning when out trotted every pundit who could squeeze into an air slot to second guess why Harriet Miers quit. Miers had answered a set of questions for the House Judiciary Committee and one of the answers specifically showed such a lack of knowledge of the constitution antecedents to judgments that Republican Specter and Democrat Leahy both asked her for a “do-over.” The news of that humiliation so rocked any idea of Miers as a qualified candidate, it seemed just a matter of time as to how and when her extrication from the approval process would happen.

Still, the pundits weighed in all morning with guesses as to whether George W. asked his old friend and legal confidant for her resignation, or whether she did it on her own as a gesture to save any further embarrassment and hassle for the White House powers-that-be, who are already plagued by their own man-made conundrums, and out-of-their-control divine processes—perjury and hurricanes—as not to need a single hay-straw more on the “problem” side of the scale.

The overwhelming conclusion on the Miers selection comes down on the side of big Bush mistake, for many reasons enumerated everywhere. One question remains--what kind of mistake was it? One of stupidity, haste, studied miscalculation? Or in the more sinister vein of the mindset of Bush, Rove and company, was it the arrogance and willful isolation of a dynasty in charge without regard to consequence? If Bush could get an inside crony like Miers onto the Supreme Court, what heights could he not scale? He wasn’t even willing to produce documents the house committee asked for involving Miers work in the White House, sighting Executive Privilege.

Some of us caught on to the nature of mindless power, however, even if the statements were not so vitriolic:

I think it’s a mistake to recommend or nominate someone from your own staff, particularly someone as close to him [as Miers], because it raises all kinds of questions about executive power.

Secondly, when her major qualifications revolve around her service in the White House, and those papers are not able to be given to us, or the president refuses to give them, it sets up a dialectic confrontation between the two bodies right away.”—Senator Diane Feinstein, MSNBC Thursday, October 27, 2005 [From live broadcast]

In light of indictments about to drop on an unknown number of Bush players—at least Rove and Libby and possibly Cheney and others—it is interesting to note the psychology of Bush decision-making in action. It’s the cause of all the trouble in the first place, including and most importantly, the unnecessary and hugely costly in all its factors, Iraq War.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Kerry Won the 2004 Presidential Election

My wife, who is psychic, never veered from her statement that Kerry won the 2004 presidential election, before or after the ballots were cast. As reported in this blog several times, Congressman John Conyers, reporter Kieth Olberman, and author Christopher Hitchens among others, have questioned the results of the voter count.

Now there is a book, well-researched--Fooled Again: How the Right Stole the 2004 Election & Why They'll Steal the Next One Too (Unless We Stop Them). Mark Crispin Miller. Basic Books. $24.95. 284 pp.—which is reviewed by Timothy Dodson of the Florida Sun-Sentinel. It is clear-cut that Kerry did win the election, that the election was stolen by the now obvious criminal team of Bush-Cheney and company, and hopefully this coup pulled on the American people will soon be rectified.

From the book review:

Among other things, he recommends doing away with electronic voting, which he says "can never be entirely secure," and using standard paper ballots instead. He also would federalize the electoral system so as to replace "local bigots or politicos" with trained civil servants at the polls…

…reports of touch-screen voting machines flipping votes from Kerry to Bush but never the other way around, are hard to ignore, as are reports that the many anomalies that occurred in Ohio all favored Bush, defying the law of averages if not common sense.

…Post-election analysis found that Bush's "base" voted for him in about the same numbers as in 2000. But Democrats had been far more successful in registering new voters, particularly in Florida and Ohio. Both the polls and the registration numbers suggested a larger turnout for Kerry than for Bush, yet Bush won. It doesn't add up.

…if even half of what this book alleges is true, then a serious offense has been committed against our system of government and the American way of life.—Sun-Sentinel 9/23/05

In case you’re counting, that’s two presidential elections stolen out of two.—DG

(Thanks to Carolyn Kaye --—for bringing this story to our attention)

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Tax Evasion or Perjury? You Go to Jail.

I remember when I was a kid and the big news among my friends when we learned about Al Capone, was that he wasn’t put in jail for all the crimes he committed, because they couldn’t get him on the hard evidence. He and his cronies were too smart for that. So they sent him up the river on charges of tax evasion, which was easily proven through his accountant’s audit trail.

Then I grew up and wrote my master’s thesis on the case of Alger Hiss. Nixon’s first big fish was Hiss, a former high-ranking member of the Truman administration. Hiss was accused of passing classified secret information to Whittaker Chambers, an admitted Soviet spy during the 1930's, who then was editor in chief of Time Magazine and accused Hiss in the late 1940's.

Hiss was sent to jail for 4 years, and the multiple-choice test on the advanced high-school American History exam asks what he was convicted of—treason, espionage, or perjury? You guessed it!—perjury, for confusion over dates having to do with when he actually knew Chambers. Four years in prison, disbarred, and out of the loop forever for his dream job, Secretary of State. Perjury--not exactly a technicality according to Mr. Hiss.

Fifty years later there are still Republicans who think perjury is a very serious charge. When President Clinton LIED to a grand jury about not having sex with intern Monica Lewinsky, he was impeached and tried before the Senate and acquitted. Never mind about getting his country into a war under false pretenses—Bill Clinton said a blow job was not sex, and Henry Hyde, Tom Delay, and the rest of the high-minded republican congress who indicted him knew Clinton was guilty of “high crimes and misdemeanors,” as stipulated in the just-short-of-holy-writ Constitution of the United States. Have all the sex you want, just don’t LIE about it—that’s perjury if you fib to a grand jury, and that’s serious!

Not always serious, actually. Sometimes, depending on who’s lying and who’s listening, it’s not that big a deal. I know this now, because Texas Senator Kay Baily Hutchison ‘splained it on today’s Meet the Press, hosted, by the way, by the leading MSM shill next to soon-to-be-former New York Times staffer Judith Miller--Tim Russert:

"An indictment of any kind is not a guilty verdict, and I do think we have in this country the right to go to court and have due process and be innocent until proven guilty. And secondly, I certainly hope that if there is going to be an indictment that says something happened, that it is an indictment on a crime and not some perjury technicality where they couldn't indict on the crime and so they go to something just to show that their two years of investigation was not a waste of time and taxpayer dollars."—Huffington Post 9/23/05

One can only ask Senator Hutcison, have you no sense of decency ma’am, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?

As far as wasting taxpayer dollars—soon there will be listed officially 2,000 dead soldiers in the Iraq debacle started by the neocons, led by Cheney and endorsed by Bush. In fact, there are thousands more American dead who were not killed on the battlefield in Iraq, but who may have died in hospitals in Frankfort and elsewhere, or in transit and due to sickness etc—in all it has been estimated as many as 10,000 Americans have died related to the Iraq war.

Then there are the tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians--men, women, children--who have been killed in this unnecessary enterprise, conducted by wealthy American men and women with greedy motives, misguided, isolated from reality, and leading a willing nation of sheep.

Hutchison has the nerve to call perjury a legal technicality. Russert gives her the airwaves to do this, and doesn’t challenge her. Children are allowed to watch Meet the Press because it is not censorable as violent or risqué—yet it is as politically pornographic as if it showed the most depraved acts of humanity.

That’s why one of the comments on Arriana’s post seems so apt, if not completely off the mark and a total non-sequitor. It seems all the more appropriate in the context of the discussion of perjury as a technicality:

Sorry to say this Arianna on your blog, but another point about that
smarmy, reptilian KayBailey Hutchinson - her weird dress had two 4" white bands of cloth across each of her breasts, and on each band, there was some odd decorative device that I swear, looked like a ring, right where her nipple would be, so in another context that contorted, lying, wrinkled face was sitting there in the camera with nipple rings, trying to feed the Nation her lies and distortions. Again, I'm sorry, and yes my hatred of Bush and all his crony apologists is glaring thru, but there is something perversely Freudian peculiar about Kay Baily and that dress with those cloth bands and those strange rings. Maybe I'm just a sick pup, but also, watching these repuglican evangelical freaks brings out the worst in me!

Check it out you all, on the evening reruns.

Posted by: dynapro on October 23, 2005 at 09:00pm

Friday, October 21, 2005

Trust Your Doctor? Fool Me Once…

I take a large dose of lovastatin, the generic version of Mevacor, the first cholesterol-lowering drug in the “statin” class to hit the market almost 2 decades ago. I have a genetic predisposition to producing an abnormally high amount of low density lipoproteins, or L.D.L.’s, which are considered the “bad” cholesterol that can deposit plaque on arteries which causes heart disease blockage and heart attacks.

The advent of the statin drugs, which act on the liver to make it produce less cholesterol, was, for me, like the development of penicillin to fight bacterial infections—it meant hopefully living longer for those of us condemned to possibly developing early major cardiovascular disease from birth.

Or, so I thought since the late 1980’s. My personal health is an issue with an op-ed piece in today’s Los Angeles Times:

IS POPPING A PILL the best way to reduce your risk of a heart attack?

That's the message Americans and their doctors hear almost every day. The Journal of the American Medical Assn., for instance, reports in its Oct. 12 issue that the growing use of statin drugs in the United States is largely responsible for falling cholesterol levels over the last decade. Coupled with new data showing that the number of heart disease deaths is falling in the U.S., it sounds like great news.

Unfortunately, putting those two facts together gives Americans the wrong prescription for the most effective way to minimize their risk of heart disease.

First of all, cholesterol levels in the U.S. actually fell faster before
statins entered widespread use in the early 1990s, as some Americans decreased their consumption of saturated fats. But, despite the falling cholesterol levels, National Institutes of Health [NIH] data show that the U.S. is still lagging badly behind most of the other industrialized countries in eliminating heart disease as a major cause of premature death.-- Pills to avoid heart attacks? Hard to swallow By John Abramson and Merrill Goozner

It’s not like I was ignorant of big pharma’s numero uno goal--as Michael Moore so succinctly nailed when questioned on a talk show about his next documentary venture into the multi-billion-dollar drug business—make money and increase the profit margin for the shareholders. (My apologies for not mentioning the untold numbers of others who have also publicly tried to make this truth abundantly public, and clear.)

In my own defense, I did write in this blog last April about the cross-purposes of several physicians working for the NIH and also being paid by drug companies who manufacture statins, to promote those statins in the media. At that time, I wrote,

When I last had my dosage of mevacor, a cholesterol-lowering statin “wonder” drug, doubled, I asked my physician if there was any concern long-term regarding cancer or any bad side effects. He replied, and confirmed what I had been reading, that statins were great drugs capable of many positive medical results, even including preventing osteoporosis and other unrelated benefits. He said it seems that the current news on statins was the “more the merrier,” and even those not afflicted with elevated cholesterol should consider getting on the band wagon. Everyone should take one of the wonderful statin drugs.—DG

Not so much has changed regarding the PR on statins, because of the enormous monetary gains to be made from the huge numbers of people being prescribed these statins, and also because of the enormous sums of money paid to advertise them. Here are some recent headlines:

September 29, 2005 CHICAGO -- In a large study of elderly, predominately male veterans, statin use was associated with a 36 percent reduction in risk of fracture when compared with no lipid-lowering therapy, according to a study in the September 26 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.—Science

A study sponsored by Pfizer, reported last month, indicated that lower may be better. Plaque growth stopped in heart patients whose L.D.L. levels dropped to about 80 while it slowly continued in those with levels of about 110. Other studies are asking whether lower levels of L.D.L. lead to fewer heart attacks.--New York Times 12/2/03

Isn’t Pfizer helpful to test their OWN product?

In the latest research to show that the popular cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins are good for more than the heart, statins are good for more than the heart, a 10-year study of more than 30,000 men shows that statins may slash the risk of advanced prostate cancer in half.—Web Md 4/18/05

It just doesn’t get any better, all this PR about the new wonder statin drugs--what's next? Statins cure bird-flu??

Too bad those two guys writing in the L.A. Times have to throw cold water on all this hot statin stuff! Who are they anyway?

JOHN ABRAMSON is the author of "Overdosed America" (Harper Collins, 2004) and a clinical instructor at Harvard Medical School. MERRILL GOOZNER is the author of "The $800 Million Pill" (University of California Press, 2004) and the director of the Integrity in Science program at the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

As my 8 year old, about-to-turn 30, daughter would say, when confronted with the obvious, which she now wants to let me know she knew—“OH WELL, THEN”—here’s the emmes:

There's no doubt that statins can help some people, especially those who already have heart disease and men at very high risk of developing it. But the scientific evidence is clear: Most heart disease results from the way we live our lives, and there's no magic pill to help us change that.So why all the brouhaha about getting so many people on statins? It's an exquisite example of bank robber Willy Sutton's law: That's where the money is.[emphasis added]--John Abramson and Merrill Goozner

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Monica : Whitewater = White House Obstruction : Plame

Wait a minute—if obstruction of justice i.e. Rove and Libby lying to a grand jury about who, what, where, spilled the goods on Valerie Plame as a CIA agent is PERIPHERAL to what prosecutor Fitzgerald was hired to do, then what was Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky when prosecutor Ken Star was hired to get to the bottom of a real estate operation in Arkansas called Whitewater?

The possible violations under consideration by Mr. Fitzgerald are peripheral to the issue he was appointed in December 2003 to investigate: whether anyone in the administration broke a federal law that makes it a crime, under certain circumstances, to reveal the identity of a covert intelligence officer.—New York Times 10/21/05

You mean like the peripheral investigation of Clinton's sex in the oval office to the Whitewater issue?

I got this latest from watching, by accident, TV hack Tucker Carlson on MSNBC, and he says he doesn’t believe any of it. The spin is in and the newsprint isn’t dry yet.

What no one really knows, and even Tucker would like to claim he does—is what prosecutor Fitzgerald plans to do. What is clear here is that the secretive machinations of a despotic regime are about to be put on trial. Based on my intuition of Fitzgerald as a competent and passionate patriot, of that, I am sure.

“Religious Right” is an Oxymoron

If POTUS said to me about a Supreme Court Justice nominee, “Let me reassure you that he’s Jewish,” I’m pretty sure that would NOT reassure me that he was therefore eminently qualified for the proposed job. Otherwise, why bring up religion at all? Well, Bush did just that with his choice of Miers for the high court. Of course, he didn’t say she was Jewish, he said that she was an evangelistic Christian, which somehow told his base that this was the choice for them.

As for her qualifications, Miers starts down that road with a poor showing on a questionnaire for the Senate Judiciary Committee. Chairman Arlen Specter said yesterday, "Sen. Leahy and I took a look at it and agreed that it was insufficient and are sending back a detailed letter asking for amplification on many, many of the items."

This is the perfect time for the following letter to the editor in today’s Los Angeles Times which ties together a constitutional issue with Bush’s religious litmus test for Miers:

Your Oct. 17 editorial about President Bush's emphasis on Harriet Miers' religious beliefs as a basis for nominating her to the Supreme Court failed to mention the most important and disturbing aspect of this emphasis. His spotlighting her religion implies that if she were not an evangelical Christian, he would not have nominated her.

Article VI of the Constitution says "all … judicial officers … of the United States shall be bound by oath or affirmation to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States." But Bush has announced that there is a "religious test" and that Miers has passed it. This appears to violate the Constitution that Bush swore to uphold as president. The Times should not comment on the improper religious aspects of this nomination without censuring this violation.


Rancho Santa Margarita

--One more abrogation of the oath of office to chalk up on the POTUS belt.
No doubt all of this focus on Harriet will take a back seat to the upcoming indictments, but it would be well to keep the Miers nomination interest active, since her confirmation could mean many years of inept and unwise decisions at the ultimate court of the land.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The Disappointment of Hillary

Regardless of what I may think of Hillary Clinton’s “moral compass” or whether or not I would enjoy having her over for dinner, I have always considered her a potential presidential candidate I would heartily support. After all, in my upbringing, and from some personal experience, I have found a politician to be just that—a politician--which is to say, one step above, or often equal to, a whore. Just the fact that they refer to themselves as “public servants,” when they spend untold sums of money to get elected to the job, is proof enough for me that they are not the high-minded guardians of the public trust that they claim to be.

Lately I have been disappointed with Hillary’s absence on the anti-Iraq Occupation stage. It seems she is more of a proponent of the status quo in that there needs to be a stable democratic unity established before she would agree to remove US troops from harm’s way. Maybe it’s a bow to the establishment and that’s, like, where we get oil from. Or maybe it’s a more sinister Machiavellian orientation I can’t even dream up. In any case, here is a snippet of a point of view from Cindy Sheehan, famous anti-Iraq War mom, which appeared on Michael Moore’s web site:

I would love to support Hillary for President if she would come out against the travesty in Iraq. But I don't think she can speak out against the occupation, because she supports it. I will not make the mistake of supporting another pro-war Democrat for president again: As I won't support a pro-war Republican. This country wants this occupation to end. The world wants the occupation to end. People in Iraq want this occupation to end.

…I think she is a political animal who believes she has to be a war hawk to keep up with the big boys.

…[After meeting with Ms. Clinton] I thought Mrs. Clinton listened, but apparently she didn't because immediately afterwards she said the following to Sarah Ferguson of the Village Voice:

"My bottom line is that I don't want their sons to die in vain... I don't
believe it's smart to set a date for withdrawal... I don't think it's the right time to withdraw."

That quote sounds exactly like what the few Republicans I talked to that week said. Making sure that our children did not die in "vain" sounds exactly like something George Bush says. A "date" for withdrawal? That sounds like Rush Limbaugh to me. That doesn't sound like an opposition party leader speaking to me. What Sen. Clinton said after our meeting sounds exactly like the Republican
Party talking points I heard from Senators Dole and McCain.—Michael 10/15/05

Al Gore’s looking better every day!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Judy Miller Piece of Work

How did Judy work? It’s a gross exaggeration to claim that she took dictation, but I suspect that’s the impression many of her sources took home. Just look at the tone of that letter I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, sent Judy in jail to waive confidentiality so she could testify: “Come back to work—and life.” Does that really sound like Scooter is writing to a friend he’s left languishing in the slammer, or is he condescending to a secretary who’s had a breakdown? Burning Questions, Shadowland-Newsweek, Christopher Dickey, 10/18/05

The confusing and often misleading story of New York Times reporter Judith Miller’s jailing for refusal to reveal her source(es) seems to be heading for a culmination of sorts this week. Christopher Dickey of Newsweek picks through the layers of this puzzle to reveal the meat of the issue of who blew the whistle on Valerie Plame as a CIA agent, thereby possibly breaking the law. Dickey examines the heart of investigative journalism at its best and worst, and why big-business news publishing often goes for the latter.

It’s not enough that his version is interesting and brings new facts and ideas to light—Dickey also is intimately knowledgeable of his subjects. He knew Judith Miller when they both reported from Cairo twenty years ago. He knows confidants of Ahmad Chalabi well enough that even “no comment” is fascinating when it relates to this story:

Given the way Judy takes notes, I’m not surprised that she can’t remember who first gave her the name of “Flame.” I’ve even seen speculation that it came from one of her other not-so-reliable sources, Iraqi exile leader (and now vice president) Ahmad Chalabi, who peddled so many of the WMD rumors that wound up as facts in the Times. Ahmad keeps close tabs on his enemies, and I know first-hand that he counted many people at the C.I.A. on that list. When I e-mailed one of Chalabi’s aides to ask point blank if Chalabi was Judy’s source for Plame’s name, the aide responded: “Come on Chris … get back to serious work.”—Dickey

As always, Chris’s conclusion is worth reading. Despite Frank Rich’s take in the New York Times over the weekend, that sources and reporters, and Rove and Libby, are not the real story here—how Bush and his comaraderie lied to get the US to invade Iraq is—Chris Dickey’s description of the Miller mode gets to one root of what trouble this nation is in now.

Indict first, Then Impeach

As the investigation into the leak of a CIA agent's name hurtles to an apparent conclusion, special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald has zeroed in on the role of Vice President Cheney's office, according to lawyers familiar with the case and government officials. The prosecutor has assembled evidence that suggests Cheney's long-standing tensions with the CIA contributed to the unmasking of operative Valerie Plame.—Washington Post 10/18/05

Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's CIA-leak inquiry is focusing attention on what long has been a tactic of U.S. President George W. Bush's administration: slash-and-burn assaults on its critics, particularly those opposed to the president's Iraq war policies.

If top officials are indicted, it could seriously erode the administration's credibility and prove yet another embarrassment to Bush on the larger issue of how he and his national security team marshaled information -- much of it later shown to be inaccurate -- to support their case for the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003.—CNN 10/18/05

I have been anticipating the impeachment of Bush and Cheney since the Iraq War started under the nefarious rationale of Hussein as an imminent threat to the US. In this blog I have talked about the “upcoming” impeachment hearings several times:

...Nixon was charged with impeachable offenses for covering up a “third rate burglary,” the Watergate caper. His conduct of the Vietnam War was never an issue with the House Judiciary Committee, for which he should have had to answer.

So--Can’t we nail Bush on some charge for showing favoritism or whatever, or kissing Saudis on the mouth, or an inability to speak English?--so we can impeach his ass too, like we did Nixon over Watergate, even though at that time it was for all the wrong reasons?

...What else is illogical, is that impeachment hearings have not been scheduled yet, when the case of “high crimes and misdemeanors” required by the Constitution clearly has been met. Short of treason and bribery which are the obvious reasons to impeach an official, Bush and Cheney have lied to congress about reasons for the Iraq invasion, and these lies by themselves meet two out of three of the...

...schools of thought about the appropriate definition: (1) serious criminality evidenced by breaking existing law; (2) an abuse of office, and (3) the Alexander Hamilton standard (Federalist 65) of "violation of public trust."--CSPAN

...It doesn’t matter why Bush gets impeached. The matter is that we, the people, need to tell a leader heading down the unbridled path toward dictatorship that we won’t stand for that in these United States. And don’t worry that Cheney will become president when Bush is convicted of the impeachable offenses, because he’ll be in on the indictment as well.

I used to think that impeaching Bush and Cheney because they allowed the revelation of Valerie Plame’s occupation in the CIA, instead of for going to war in Iraq under false pretenses, was like impeaching Nixon for covering up the Watergate burglary, instead of his secret expansion of the Vietnam War into Cambodia. Now it is clear that indictment for the Plame outing in retribution for her husband’s, Ambassador Wilson’s, criticism of the Iraq War, is the same reason as indicting for lying.

The House Judiciary Committee would be better off conducting hearings on the whole scenario, rather than trying to sort out individual criminality. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Rice and the rest—they all need to be brought up to moral speed. As it is now, this republic is on an easy path into a tyranny of the special interests and super rich that Caesar himself would admire.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Rove Problem Doesn’t Distract Bush--Much

It is also essential that we not be so distracted by events such as this that we neglect the vital work before us, before this Nation, before America, at a time of critical importance to America and the world. --Nixon's First Watergate Speech

Karl Rove testified to a grand jury for the fourth and final time Friday, smiling as he emerged from hours of questioning about his possible role in the leak of a covert CIA officer's identity…

…His lawyer, Robert D. Luskin, said Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald "has not advised Mr. Rove that he is a target of the investigation and affirmed that he has made no decision concerning charges.—CNN

"And while there are other things going on, the White House doesn't have time to let those things distract from the important work at hand," McClellan said.-- Top Bush adviser Rove testifies again on CIA leak

I keep feeling like I've been there, done that...--DG

Trapped Third Strike and Alternate Universes

How many of you, I wonder, have heard a friend or a family member in the last few years remark that it's almost as if America has entered "an alternate universe"?--Remarks by Al Gore as preparedAssociated Press / The Media Center October 5, 2005

Iraq citizens vote on a new constitution tomorrow. Insurgent attacks
leading up to this event have left hundreds dead:nearly 450 people have been killed over the past 19 days in a combination of suicide car bombs, roadside bombs and drive-by shootings. Many other Iraqis have been kidnapped and killed, their bodies abandoned in remote areas.--AP
Once again, Commander in Chief Bush takes the stage to video conference with some officers in the war zone. The only problem is that the preparation and coaching, by an Assistant Secretary of Defense, of answers to Bush’s questions, gets more publicity than the actual video conference itself.

What can we expect in a week that has seen such strange happenings in the news?

--The Angels lose a playoff game in what’s being called one of the strangest umpire calls in modern baseball post-season play. After the White Sox batter swings strike three, the Angels catcher thinks he catches the ball, but the ump signals a dropped third strike which, in typical arcane baseball rule-book legalese, allows the batter to go to first, in certain cases of that base being occupied or not, and then the Angels lose the game.

There has been a LOT of discussion since this happened two nights ago, but the most obvious and clear-cut solution comes from Angels’ catcher Jose Molina:

"There are 50,000 people out there yelling. He's got to yell either, 'Out' or 'Safe,'"—Orange County Register

If our politicians could be so clear-cut, we’d have a lot less problems than we do now. Look how messed up it gets when the baseball umpire is hedging his decision.

--The James Bond feature film producers hire a new hero, and he’s blond:

Daniel Craig was introduced Friday as the first blond James Bond and only the second Englishman to star as Agent 007 in the movie series.--My Way News

--After several hurricanes in the US and a tragic earthquake in Asia, there was more rain in the tri-state plus area than they’ve ever had:

Rain fell for an eighth straight day around the waterlogged Northeast on Friday, pushing hundreds of people from their homes, closing roadways and leaving train tracks littered with fallen trees.—MSNBC

--The Republicans aren’t happy with Bush’s personal hand-picked crony for Supreme Court Justice:

A growing number of Republican activists say Bush blundered in naming Miers to the U.S. Supreme Court, failing to anticipate the firestorm it would ignite among conservative backers and leading opinion makers who question her qualifications. Bush now may be forced to choose between an embarrassing withdrawal of the nomination or accepting a fissure among conservatives that could jeopardize the party's hold on power.--Bloomberg

--Plamegate—still has to be explained in detail in the mainstream media every time a new issue surfaces because the assumption is that the average American hasn’t got a clue why Plamegate is important.

--And finally, after two days of record dry heat here in Sunny Southern California, the temperature is expected to drop 25 degrees tomorrow and may possibly rain out Sunday night’s Angels-White Sox playoff game.

Remember, my fellow early baby-boomers, when David Frost would indicate on his seminal TV satire show, TW3, “That was the week that was?” That could be said about this past week. Oh, by the way, about Sir David:

Veteran UK broadcaster David Frost is to join Aljazeera International, the Qatar-based broadcaster's new English-language channel due to be launched next spring.—

Talk about an “alternate universe…”—Maybe it’s a universe, purging, in transition for the better. Apres l’deluge.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Patriotism: Dickey talks with John Gregory Dunne

George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress,
1741-1799: Series 3h Varick Transcripts
George Washington to John Banister, April 21, 1778

I do not mean to exclude altogether the idea of patriotism. I know it exists, and I know it has done much in the present contest. But I will venture to assert, that a great and lasting war can never be supported on this principle alone. It must be aided by a prospect of interest, or some reward.George Washington
Well we know that NOW! Washington was writing about the Continental Army in the winter of 1778 at Valley Forge. He describes requests for furloughs coming fast and furious with word of enemy British soldiers getting a handsome compensation from their government. US officers were paying expenses out of their own pockets, and Washington was seeing gloomy handwriting on the wall.

The implications for the present quagmire in Iraq, of what the Father of Our Country wrote 228 years ago, are stunning in their immediacy. What is not comparable is how the notion of “patriotism” plays out in both scenarios.

These questions surfaced for me in the course of several emails between me and my friend Christopher Dickey regarding his latest Newsweek column, Wars of Hate another entry in his “Shadowland” series. His beautiful reminiscence of his last dinner with friend and renowned author John Gregory Dunne is intriguing for what is left, fatefully, to the imagination.

Partly because Chris just found a lost diskette of newspaper clippings Dunne gave him at that time, and concurrent with the publishing of Dunne’s wife of forty years, Joan Didion’s, memoir of the loss of her husband and daughter within months of each other, "The Year of Magical Thinking," he has described their conversation relating to events of the day, and Dunne’s ideas on

John was interested in patriotism. He was fascinated by the real substance of it, which he saw as diametrically opposed to what he called “the spectator patriotism” exploited by the Bush administration as it went looking for wars...

…John would rage. He was articulate and funny then and always, but such was his passion that I remember him as almost inchoate when he talked about the bastards who wouldn’t end their Global War on Terror, which was conceived in rhetoric and dedicated to their re-election, yet would send America’s sons and daughters on futile errands of suffering and slaughter. John said he was going to write a book about patriotism, but he had a novel to finish first, and then he died.—Dickey

I will not reveal the eloquent conclusion Chris draws for himself on the meaning of patriotism in the context of his remembrance of his dining with Dunne. The relation of Washington’s plight, and his plea for adequate support for his troops, to the occupation of Iraq, with the present-day ill-equipped soldier illuminates the meaning of “patriotism” with a clarity absent in the ambient public discourse.

Patriotism itself may be a romantic relic of past eras, especially with today’s “age of information” immediate access to goings-on anywhere on the planet—I can instantly empathize with the child being pulled out of the rubble in the earthquake tragedy in remote Kashmir as it plays out on cable news.

Perhaps “patriotism” needs to be hooked into a new world view, which is just that—a view of us all as citizens of the world, patriotic to our mutual goals of "life, liberty, and prosperity."

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Bush Spreads Fear like a Bird Flu Pandemic

Ramirez L.A. Times 10/11/05

I have thought through the scenarios of what an avian flu outbreak could mean. I tried to get a better handle on what the decision-making process would be by reading Mr. Barry's book on the influenza outbreak in 1918. I would recommend it…

…. The reporting needs to be not only on the birds that have fallen ill, but also on tracing the capacity of the virus to go from bird to person, to person. That's when it gets dangerous, when it goes bird-person-person. And we need to know on a real-time basis as quickly as possible, the facts, so that the scientific community, the world scientific community can analyze the facts and begin to deal with it…

…We're watching it, we're careful, we're in communications with the world. I'm not predicting an outbreak; I'm just suggesting to you that we better be thinking about it. And we are. And we're more than thinking about it; we're trying to put plans in place, and one of the plans -- back to where your original question came -- was, if we need to take some significant action, how best to do so. And I think the president ought to have all options on the table to understand what the consequences are, but -- all assets on the table -- not options -- assets on the table to be able to deal with something this significant.-- President Holds Press Conference 10/4/05
Jon Stewart on his Daily Show parodied Bush’s remarks by saying that it was really worse when the flu goes from bird to person, then back to bird, then back to person again. In case repeating Stewart in print wasn’t that funny, neither is the whole avian flu scare that is in the news every day.

Fear not, fellow citizens—there is an intelligent response to this bird flu pandemic overreaching by the media: an editorial, titled An Epidemic of Overreaction in today’s Los Angeles Times easily and succinctly puts the entire issue in appropriate perspective. It is by Marc Siegel, internist and associate professor at the New York University School of Medicine and author of False Alarm: The Truth about the Epidemic of Fear (Wiley, 2005).

The key elements he addresses include the 1918 pandemic that Bush referred to in his news conference.

Why the overreaction? For one thing, direct comparisons to the Spanish flu of 1918, a scourge that killed more than 50 million people worldwide, has alarmed the public unnecessarily. In fact, there are many scenarios in which the current bird flu won't mutate into a form as deadly as the 1918 virus. And even if we accept the Spanish flu scenario, health conditions in 1918 were far worse in most of the world than they are now. Many people lived in squalor; 17 million
influenza deaths occurred in India, versus about half a million deaths in the U.S…

…Fear is a warning system intended to alert us to impending danger. The bird flu, though a potential large-scale danger, is not impending.The facts are these: The current H5N1 avian influenza virus has not mutated into a form that can easily infect humans, and the 60 people in the world who have died of this bird flu have done so not because this bug is on the road to mutation but because millions of birds throughout Asia have been infected, and the more birds that have it, the more likely that an occasional human bird handler will be infected. Siegel

There’s more, but you get the drift. Fear and ignorance keeps the mob confused and malleable. Knowledge is freedom. Pass it along.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Scarborough Hardballs Miers

A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds

Ralph Waldo Emerson essay on Self Reliance

Here’s more proof for me that if you live long enough, you find some depth in people where you thought there wasn’t any at all.

Joe Scarborough, former congressman and hack republican news host on MSNBC wasn’t breaking the party line until recently. Especially evident in the ensuing scandals, and lack of base-touching, by the Bush administration regarding hurricanes and Iraq War management, is that Scarborough speaks a more informed and objective mind.

The latest case in point, a conversation on Hardball with Chris Mathews on MSNBC, is Scarborough’s take on the selection, and potential for approval, of Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers. He was trenchant enough for me that I went to the transcript as soon as it was available today, 3 days later:

SCARBOROUGH: Republicans always blast affirmative action, but they‘re always holding up women and African-Americans and Hispanics, saying, look at us. Look how inclusive we are...I think that‘s part of it...

...But, Chris, at the end of the day, I think the president was too clever by half. He knew Harriet Miers, knew she was a conservative, knew she would vote the way he wanted her to vote...

...And when Harry Reid put her name on the list, it was too much for him to pass up and said, OK, you want her, you got her. And he thought he was going to get away with it.

And you know what? In the end, he will. She‘s going to probably pass. But, at the same time, he‘s caused a lot more scar tissue from conservatives at a time, especially with the Karl Rove possibility of indictment and Tom DeLay indictment and Iraq and Katrina and all these other things blowing up all around him—this is the time he needs his base, like Reagan needed his base in ‘87 and ‘88 during Iran Contra. This isn‘t going to help the president at all.—[emphasis added] Hardball with Chris Matthews 10/7/05

What’s more bizarre is Bush’s conservative base doesn’t know how good they’ll have it with Miers in the Supreme Court.

What's troubling for President Bush, however, is that 27 Republican senators -- almost half of his party's members in the chamber -- have publicly expressed specific doubts about Miss Miers or said they must withhold any support whatsoever for her nomination until after the hearings.—Washington Times 10/10/05

Axes to grind, distancing from an embattled president, skeptical of credentials—all these elements are part of what’s bothering those who would have been Bush’s lay-down allies several months ago. After Miers’ confirmation, all this will be a hill of beans, and Bush will have his second personally-placed Supreme Court vote for years to come.

But the echo of Scarborough’s pre-weekend prediction, “This isn‘t going to help the president at all,” may come into play more heavily when the indictments start rolling in for the likes of Rove, Libby, Delay and more in the next few weeks and months. That’s when the House Judiciary Committee can really put in some serious hearings time.

We don’t need no stinkin smoking gun—we just need a mid-term election.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Bennett—Another Point of View

"I do know that it's true that if you wanted to reduce crime, you could, if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down…"

"…an impossible, ridiculous and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down. So these far-out, these far-reaching, extensive extrapolations are, I think, tricky."

"…I was putting forward a bad argument in order to put it down," Bennett said, drawing sustained applause from nearly 4,500 people attending the Bakersfield Business Conference. "They reported and emphasized only the abhorrent argument, not my shooting it down."-- Bennett Blames Media for Stir Over Remarks AP 9/9/05

Due to the disproportionate numbers of African Americans arrested on false pretenses, if you “wanted to reduce crime, if that were your sole purpose,” you could abort every racist cop baby in America, “and your crime rate would go down, an impossible, ridiculous…” etc. etc.

Before the speech, local black leaders met with Bennett for an hour.

"He heard our outrage and our hurt, but he didn't say he was sorry," said Irma Carson, a Bakersfield councilwoman. "We didn't take (his comment) out of context, because there's no context in which those comments would fit."-- Bennet Blames Media

Irma Carson, that’s the emmes!

Saturday, October 08, 2005

ElBaradei: Best Choice for Nobel

What I’m trying to do is put a stop to this madness…
Nobel Peace Prize Winner ElBaradei

Christopher Dickey, Newsweek Paris Bureau Chief and I’m proud to say my friend of many years, was one of the few reporters granted an interview with Mohamed ElBaradei. The entire post appears on Chris’s wonderful blog, The Shadowland Journal,

Dickey: What do you think Iran wants out of all this?

ElBaradei: Iran wants to get the best from its own perspective. Obviously it wants to get the maximum technology, and not just nuclear. Reactor technology is key for them. They want IT, all the modern technology, Airbus, Boeing. They need the technology to modernize. And I think they understand that the fuel cycle enables them to be part of the big boys club, and it’s a smart insurance policy, if they can get that, because again it sends a message to their neighbors. Iran wants to be a major player in the whole Middle East which is being reshaped right now. …I don’t want to speak for them, but they also would like to normalize their relationship, ultimately, with the US. Their dialogue with Europe is a bridge toward their ultimate normalization with the US. So these are the things that I guess are on their agenda. But I can’t speak for them.

So, again, when you talk about the nuclear program in Iran you are talking about regional politics, regional security – global politics, global security. So, you will have the European agenda, the American agenda, the Iranian agenda, the neighbors agenda, the Israelis, the Arabs. Everybody is affected by how this dialogue between Europe and Iran will play out. I think everybody understands that it is not just the nuclear issue, it is the whole future of the Middle East, it is the whole future of regional security, global security. That’s why it makes it more difficult, and that’s why it takes time, and that’s why people should be patient. As long as they are talking, I’m comfortable. As long as the fuel cycle is suspended, as long as they are making progress, keep at it.

Dickey: The Europeans are sounding very pessimistic these days. It’s very hard to see in the current environment how the Americans are going to offer security guarantees and a face-saving solution for this Iranian regime.

ElBaradei: The number one threat for the entire world is weapons of mass destruction. I’d rather assure our security first, and then I’ll worry about all the other issues: legitimizing regimes, democracy, human rights. If we do not have global security it might be too late to think about any of these issues. So unless I have defanged all the potential proliferators or terrorists or what have you I will not have a chance to discuss these other issues. It’s a question of priorities.Dickey: What is the risk that talks will collapse and we’ll be looking at a breakout, Iran just walking away from the table and the treaty.ElBaradei: I am still hoping that at the end of the day, with all the posturing, nobody can afford a confrontation. Confrontation is a lose-lose proposition. … You might see some hiccups in the process, some delays in the process, but I think we need to keep at it.

Dickey: At the end of the day, do you think Iran will become a virtual weapons state?

ElBaradei: [long sigh] What I’m trying to do is put a stop to this madness…

Whatever controversy may abide over Elbaradei receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, thoughtful people who are concerned for the safety of their species will find there was no better choice.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Two Minds with but a Single Thought

A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves.—Edward R Murrow

Bush’s ratings in the polls stink. He gives a speech saying Iraq is the answer to fighting worldwide terrorism to try to bolster some kind of support. Mayor Bloomberg of New York is having political difficulties as he faces re-election. He “had been invited to appear at a mayoral debate Thursday evening, but declined -- a decision that has brought him considerable criticism.”

What’s the quickest way to create a diversion and make leadership look solid and in control?

New York City's subway system was put under heightened alert Thursday after officials received information from the FBI about a "specific threat," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.—CNN

And to help with the Iraq connection:

A law enforcement official who spoke on condition of anonymity said the threat was “specific to place, time and method,” which was a bombing. The official said the information resulted from the arrest of al-Qaida operatives in Iraq.—MSNBC

But there is a soft underbelly to this fearmongering:

The Department of Homeland Security said the intelligence community believes the information is of "doubtful" credibility.—Newsday

It’s not as if this scare is a total loss—there is still the undercurrent in the media about bird flu pandemic, which could kill millions. Don’t think Bush hasn’t got some ideas about how to fight bird flu:

A call by President George W. Bush for Congress to give him the power to use the military in law enforcement roles in the event of a bird flu pandemic has been criticized as akin to introducing martial law.

Bush said aggressive action would be needed to prevent a potentially
disastrous U.S. outbreak of the disease that is sweeping through Asian poultry and which experts fear could mutate to pass between humans.—CNN, Bush military bird flu role slammed

What this country needs is a calming assurance from our leaders that will let us all sleep better and build our immune systems so we won’t be so susceptible to all these viruses—and work for common goals, instead of constantly playing “duck and cover.”

That takes courageous leadership, because the consequence of a fearful populace is an easily led one, like sheep, which helps if you’re a fearful leader.

The Fitzgerald Wait Comes to an End

Although he was not designated as such in the indictment, the grand jury named the President, among others, as an unindicted coconspirator.-- UNITED STATES v. NIXON 418 U.S. 683 (1974) Decided July 24, 1974.
That was then.

And this is now:

Prediction: at least three high level Bush Administration personnel indicted and possibly one or more very high level unindicted co-conspirators.— Plamegate: The Next Step

As I have asked more than once in this blog, When will Fitzgerald take action?—seems like the answer is, finally, very soon.

Federal prosecutors have accepted an offer from presidential adviser Karl Rove to give 11th hour testimony in the case of a CIA officer’s leaked identity but have warned they cannot guarantee he won’t be indicted, according to people directly familiar with the investigation.— Without protection, Rove to testify on CIA leak, AP 9/06/05

And this could be then and now:
Today, in one of the most difficult decisions of my
presidency, I accepted the resignations of two of my closest associates in the White House, [Karl Rove and Scooter Libby], two of the finest public servants it has been my privilege to know . .
Republican Presidential quotes from Richard M. Nixon to George W. Bush

"Rove" and "Libby" obviously substituted for "Haldeman" and "Erlichman."

...I wonder if Bush is quoting Nixon privately:

“I don’t give a shit what happens. I want you all to stonewall it, let them plead the Fifth Amendment, cover up or anything else, if it’ll save it—save this plan. That’s the whole point. We’re going to protect our people if we can."

Thankfully Fitzgerald gives a shit, and so do we, the people.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Al Gore’s Take on the Media and Democracy

Here’s some good news and bad news:

The good news first – Al Gore’s speech today on the state of American media and the threat to American democracy is brilliant and illuminating.

The bad news – he’s not the President of the United States.

The decline of the public discourse, through the printed word, which has brought us to this day of entertainment/news, is the subject of Gore’s thesis that our country’s freedoms depended on this “check and balance.”

“Whether it is called a Public Forum, or a "Public Sphere," or a marketplace of ideas, the reality of open and free public discussion and debate was considered central to the operation of our democracy in America's earliest decades.

In fact, our first self-expression as a nation - "We the People" - made it clear where the ultimate source of authority lay. It was universally understood that the ultimate check and balance for American government was its accountability to the people. And the public forum was the place where the people held the government accountable. That is why it was so important that the marketplace of ideas operated independent from and beyond the
authority of government.”-- Remarks by Al Gore as prepared Associated Press / The Media Center October 5, 2005

Gore’s clear and brilliant discussion of how the state of discourse has been reduced to a one-way path through the advent of radio, television, and advertising, covers familiar ground but creates new synthesis along the way. That is the intelligence of the thesis, and its clarity is the reason for the bad news that such boorish and garish greed for power instead inhabits the leadership of our nation.
“It is important to note that the absence of a two-way conversation in American television also means that there is no "meritocracy of ideas" on television. To the extent that there is a "marketplace" of any kind for ideas on television, it is a rigged market, an oligopoly, with imposing barriers to entry that exclude the average citizen.”-- Gore
Gore’s conclusion is that in the internet lies the possibility of the rebirth of the “public discourse.” The entire speech is worth reading, but as many of the commenters on the sight indicated, you may come away less with the message that Gore is promoting, and more with the feeling that the speaker himself represents a greatness of mind and spirit that is absent from American politics.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

The Moral Morass is in us

Three generations of the Bush family. Seated in the center
are President George W. Bush's paternal grandparents,
Prescott Bush, who served as a senator from Connecticut
from 1952 to 1963, and his wife, Dorothy Walker Bush.
A boyish George W. Bush stands at the far left next to his
parents, George and Barbara Bush, and his brothers Jeb and Neil.

This whole Harriet Miers thing has everyone in a quandary. It’s really quite simple. It has to do with longevity. There’s a big sinister plan going on that has nothing to do with the presidency or politics, even though it seems like it does. It’s about family, and cronies, and greed and power

.…As many dynasties near the end of their runs, the rulers often feel so secure about their station that they lift the veil on their own weirdness to revel publicly in their own exceptionalism.[emphasis added]—Rigorous Intuition, Jeff Wells, 9/19/05

President Bush named White House counsel Harriet Miers to a Supreme Court in transition Monday, turning to a longtime loyalist without experience as a judge or publicly known views on abortion to succeed Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.—AP 10/3/05

There is still much to learn about Harriet E. Miers, but in naming her to the Supreme Court, President Bush revealed something about himself: that he has no appetite, at a time when he and his party are besieged by problems, for an all-out ideological fight.—New York Times, 10/4/05

In her 1989 run for Dallas City Council, Harriet Miers filled out a questionnaire from the Lesbian/Gay Political Coalition of Dallas, where she indicated her support for full civil rights for gays and lesbians and backed AIDS education programs for the city of Dallas...—Drudge Report 10/4/05

Watching Bush on C-SPAN. He just said that he picked Harriet because he knew she wouldn't change. That in 20 years she'll be the same as she is today.Except that 20 years ago she gave money to Gore and the DNC. That's someone who won't change!—AmericaBlog 10/4/05

"Not to my recollection have I ever sat down with her [to discuss abortion],"—George W. Bush Press Conference 10/4/05

The favors that Bush and his cronies require would not have to be spelled out. Just don’t be surprised when, sometime during the post George W. presidency, Bush states in an interview when asked about Roberts and Miers, “They’re doing a heck of a job.”

In the same week Bush picked his close staff member of 10 years for the Supreme Court, Delay was indicted on charges of money laundering, to go along with last week’s conspiracy charge. As Frank Rich eloquently delineates the corruption rampant in the Bush administration, can we find a pattern?

The DeLay and Abramoff investigations are not to be confused with the many others percolating in the capital, including, most famously of late, the Justice Department and S.E.C. inquiries into the pious Bill Frist's divine stock-sale windfall and the homeland security inspector general's promised inquiry into possible fraud in the no-bid contracts doled out by FEMA for Hurricane Katrina. The mother of all investigations, of course, remains the prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's pursuit of whoever outted the C.I.A. agent Valerie Wilson to Robert
Novak and whoever may have lied to cover it up. The denouement is on its way.

But whatever the resolution of any of these individual dramas, they will not be the end of the story. Like the continuing revelations of detainee abuse emerging from Afghanistan, Iraq and Guantanamo, this is a crisis in the governing culture, not the tale of a few bad apples. Every time you turn over a rock, you find more vermin. We've only just learned from The Los Angeles Times that Joseph Schmitz, until last month the inspector general in charge of policing waste, fraud and abuse at the Pentagon, is himself the focus of a Congressional inquiry. He is accused of blocking the investigation of another Bush appointee who is suspected of siphoning Iraq reconstruction contracts to business cronies. At the Justice Department, the F.B.I. is looking into why a career prosecutor was demoted after he started probing alleged Abramoff illegality in Guam. According to The Los Angeles Times, the demoted prosecutor was then replaced by a Rove-approved Republican pol who just happened to be a cousin of a major target of another corruption investigation in Guam.—Frank Rich, 10/2/05 New York Times

Here is a story that depicts a pattern:

After more than an hour of solemn ceremony naming Rep. Marco Rubio, R-West Miami, as the 2007-08 House speaker, Gov. Jeb Bush stepped to the podium in the House chamber last week and told a short story about "unleashing Chang," his "mystical warrior" friend.

Here are Bush's words, spoken before hundreds of lawmakers and politicians:

''Chang is a mystical warrior. Chang is somebody who believes in conservative principles, believes in entrepreneurial capitalism, believes in moral values that underpin a free society.''I rely on Chang with great regularity in my public life. He has been by my side and sometimes I let him down. But Chang, this mystical warrior, has never let me down.''

Bush then unsheathed a golden sword and gave it to Rubio as a gift.

''I'm going to bestow to you the sword of a great conservative warrior,'' he said, as the crowd roared.-- Gov. Bush & his mystical buddy, 9/18/05

Here's Jeff Wells’ Rigorous Intuition blog analysis of Jeb Bush’s homage to his father, George’s, “Chang” reference:

We know a lot of nasty and weird things about the Bush family, and we have good cause to suspect a lot worse. What's more, they know we know…

… And they know, and we know, that these things will not be spoken in the mass media. And so they enjoy the liberty of winking at us…

… They know what signs they send. As many dynasties near the end of their runs, the rulers often feel so secure about their station that they lift the veil on their own weirdness to revel publicly in their own exceptionalism.[emphasis added]-- Rigorous Intuition, Jeff Wells, 9/19/05

We, the people, have no champion, no sword to wield, and no cause to uphold, because “the rulers” have muddied up the playing field so completely. Cindy Sheehan can’t dig us out of this moral dilemma, nor will John McCain, Hillary, any of them.

We have created the soil for these weeds to grow; we must start cleaning up. It’s not as simple as JFK’s "ask what you can do for your country." It’s ending the condoning of racism, the acceptance of poverty, and the NIMBY attitude that ignores the great truth of our country, and the world—we are all one, and we have to know it and behave as if we know it.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Impeachment Delight

Why wait until the middle of a cold dark night. When everything's a little clearer in the light of day.--"Afternoon Delight" The Starland Vocal Band

Here on the Left Coast the events of the world seem to occur in a tape delay. We know when it's 7 AM here and we're watching the outdoor street shots of the Today Show in Manhattan, and it's just dawn in those shots, but it's really 10 AM there, we are not watching the absolute up to the second breaking news. When Imus has his second bagel at 5:30 in the morning, and we're just trying to regain consciousness, it's really 8:30 in his New York MSNBC studio and business is well under way for the East Coast Blue State.

That's why I'm hoping to be there when the breaking news of the moment happens at the announcement that the House Judiciary Committee has started impeachment hearings for George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. Despite the semi-derisive comments I have received from family, friends, and online over the past few months when I have made this prognostication, I am of the firm belief the day of judgment and truth draws nearer.

The Huf (Huffington Post) gives me further reason to anticipate my vindication, in several stories they reference this morning (or this afternoon if you live East of me):

Source to Stephanopoulos: President Bush Directly Involved In Leak Scandal

Near the end of a round table discussion on ABC's This Week, George Stephanopoulos dropped this bomb:

"Definitely a political problem but I wonder, George Will, do you think it's a manageable one for the White House especially if we don't know whether Fitzgerald is going to write a report or have indictments but if he is able to show as a source close to this told me this week, that President Bush and Vice President Cheney were actually involved in some of these discussions."

Another post has Norman Lear ruminating over his reaction of joy that Tom Delay was indicted for conspiracy last week:

The Jesus of the Sermon on the Mount would not have me gloating over what was certain to be another person's problem.-- What Would Jesus Do...with Tom Delay? Norman Lear, Huffington Post

As I indicated in an admittedly mean-spirited reaction (which was summarily censured and not printed) to Lear's doubt about his Schadenfreude, I don't see the problem. Rather than a glee in the downfall of Bush and Cheney, I would be delighted that justice would be served, and that the emerging truth could help ward off future subversion of the constitutional oath by greedy power-hungry pretenders to public service.

That's why I don't want to miss that breaking news.

On the other hand, as Arianna Huffington points out, after the release of New York Times reporter Judith Miller from jail, where she was for contempt of court in not revealing the source of her information on Plamegate to the grand jury, the mainstream media may be missing the point altogether:

Today, Sunday, there is not a single mention of Judy Miller in the entire New York Times (except a correction about a July 2003 Miller article on WMD in Iraq). Has the New York Times ceased journalistic operations?-- [emphasis added] Sunday's New York Times: Orwell's Memory Hole, Arianna Huffington, Huffington Post 10-02-05